NFER Apprenticeship research

Apprenticeships are a key training route to help young people enter the labour market and for upskilling existing workers.

Apprenticeships have the potential to act as a vehicle for social mobility for young people. Recent estimates from the Social Mobility Commission suggest that disadvantaged young people with an apprenticeship qualification earn, on average, over ten per cent more by age 28.

Our research in this area cuts across all levels of apprenticeships from intermediate to degree level and has focused on the barriers that young people may face in progressing onto these routes.

We have also examined:

  • the impact of the apprenticeships reforms on SMEs and on young people, against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • to what extent the apprenticeship programme needs to be refocused in order to ensure that the apprenticeship system is working to support young people and SMEs
  • the extent to which this fall in the number of apprenticeships started by young people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, is driven by falling supply for apprenticeships or lack of demand from young people looking for an apprenticeships
  • the availability of intermediate (Level 2, equivalent to GCSEs) and advanced (Level 3, equivalent to A-levels) apprenticeships, and associated age, qualification, skill and experience requirements

Current research, funded by the Gatsby Foundation. is focused on:

  • determining the most influential factors on withdrawals from apprenticeships (including learner, provider and employer characteristics)

Published research on apprenticeships